Partners Celebrate HPE CEO Antonio Neri’s Five-Year Anniversary With High Praise For A ‘Friend To The Channel’

‘Antonio has made a big commitment to invest in and grow the channel over the last five years,’ says PKA Vice President of Sales Paul Cohen. ‘He has been a friend to the channel who has always been there for us.’


Antonio Neri, who is celebrating his five-year anniversary as HPE CEO, has powered an edge-to-cloud platform as-a-service transformation that is paying big dividends for the channel, HPE partners told CRN.

“Antonio has made a big commitment to invest in and grow the channel over the last five years,” said Paul Cohen, vice president of sales for PKA, one of HPE’s top GreenLake partners that has benefitted from Neri’s hybrid cloud leadership. “He has been a friend to the channel who has always been there for us. We’ve embraced Antonio’s vision for a hybrid cloud world and been very successful with that strategy.”

[Related: COLUMN: HPE Is A Cloud Service Provider, Not A Hardware Company]

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Cohen credited Neri with helping to cultivate a culture that has led to an HPE GreenLake pay-per-use cloud services renaissance with robust channel programs and strategy, strong support for helping close deals in the field and deep insight into the HPE cloud services road map.

PKA’s edge-to-cloud GreenLake business continues to gain momentum being sold hand in hand with PKASolveIT managed services, said Cohen.

“We have significant committed GreenLake deals for 2023 and a robust pipeline including change orders, which are part of the proverbial GreenLake land and expand cloud services model,” he said.

The praise from Cohen and other partners for Neri’s channel and hybrid cloud leadership came after Neri posted a blog celebrating his five-year anniversary as CEO.

“I am more confident than ever that we have a winning strategy and a winning team,” said Neri in a LinkedIn blog post on Monday, heralding the milestone as CEO. “I feel an incredible amount of excitement for the years ahead as we continue to write HPE’s next chapter. A once in a lifetime opportunity awaits us, and now is our time.”

Looking ahead, Neri, who was one of the first CEOs to commit to a hybrid cloud model that has become accepted throughout the indstury, said “customers and partners’ feedback is clear: “HPE’s strategy is the best it has ever been, and our innovation is superior.”

“As customers continue to accelerate their digital transformations, I want them to continue to place their trust in HPE–and increasingly turn to us to deliver the solutions, services, and expertise that solve their business-critical technology challenges,” said Neri.

Neri said he sees a “huge opportunity” for HPE to continue to help companies “unlock the value of data” to solve some of the biggest issues facing society.

“We are innovating at the pace and scale needed to help businesses and communities respond to the challenges we face, and I look forward to seeing the breakthroughs we can make possible across healthcare, clean energy, scientific research, and more,” he said.

Neri, who took over as CEO on February 1, 2018, was the driving force behind HPE’s move to transform into an on-premise cloud services powerhouse with the pay-per-use HPE GreenLake cloud services platform.

Among highlights of Neri’s five-year tenure are his pledge to move the complete HPE products portfolio to a cloud service model by 2022, a pledge that many believed impossible at the time and that he delivered on last year.

C.R. Howdyshell, president of Advizex, No. 104 on the 2022 CRN Solution Provider 500, said Neri’s leadership has helped power an Advizex everything-as-a-service transformation that has led to dramatic gains in recurring revenue.

“From the beginning, Antonio Neri and HPE have made GreenLake extremely consumable and adoptable for the channel,” he said. “From day one, Antonio has opened the door and given us the opportunity to participate in pay per use cloud services. For us HPE gave us first mover advantage to adopt and drive everything as a service.”

Howdyshell, who took the helm at Advizex in 2017, has bet big on the everything-as-a-service model, which has positioned the company to prosper even in the midst of macro economic headwinds.

“We feel extremely well positioned for success this year even in the face of a potential downturn this year because of our everything as a service strategy,” he said. “This isn’t something you can do on the fly. This is something you had to do years ago to be successful.”

Howdyshell said he is more “bullish” than ever before on the GreenLake hybrid cloud on-premise model. “As we look at this year, even as we eclipse new records, more opportunities have arisen,” he said. “We feel more bullish this year than ever before about the GreenLake opportunity.”

Howdyshell credited Neri with taking a hands-on role to help resolve any and all issues to drive GreenLake sales growth.

“Antonio has made himself available to channel leadership for any escalation or challenges we face,” he said. “His willingness to be a single point of escalation for partners and customer is unparlelled and reiterates his personal commitment for us to be successful.”

Rob Schaeffer, president of CBT, a top HPE enterprise partner that has received wide acclaim for its internet of things leadership, said Neri does not get enough credit as a technology visionary who led the way on hybrid cloud. “No other company can do what HPE does in hybrid cloud,” he said. “HPE is the leader. Everybody is else is chasing GreenLake.”

CBT is expected to more than double its hybrid cloud business with a focus on driving ISVs and OEMs into the GreenLake ecosystem model, said Schaeffer. “We are working with multiple technology companies to help them build out their own hybrid cloud solutions on a hybrid cloud basis,” he said.

Neri’s leadership has paved the way for the channel to participate in the cloud services market with a robust on premise and multicloud services portfolio, said Schaeffer.

“Antonio has enabled and empowered the HPE channel to participate in the cloud services market,” he said. “Because HPE is a cloud services company CBT is a cloud services company.”

PKA’s Cohen, for his part, said Neri’s support for the channel speaks to the power of the technology solutions business as a “relationship business” built on trust and respect. “Antonio has always been there for us, ready to meet with customers to help us push sales over the goal line,” he said. “We know HPE has our back. That comes from Antonio.”